How to spread joy? Ship O'hoi!

Four young women from Oslo are on a mission to bring enthusiasm and joy to our society, through their strong passion for sailing. How? Bringing over 100 children to sea last year, they are now aiming to triple this amount in 2017.

Vindskift means “wind shift” in English, and the idea is to create a positive shift for kids, but also a positive shift for sailors who want to contribute to society. We sat down with the passionate co-founder Susanne to discuss sailing, inequality, saving-habits and dreams.

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Name: Susanne Wexels

Age: 27

Occupation:Co-founder of Vindskift and Sales Manager at Foodora

Location:Oslo

Fun fact about yourself:I can boil a perfect egg only with my gut feeling

Hei Susanne and Vindskift! Thank you so much for taking a minute to chat with us at Spiff. How are you today?

Hello Spiff ! I am so happy and honored that you want to talk to me and the rest of Vindskift. After a busy and fun day at work, I got picked up by the rest of the Vindskift - girls at work. We had our weekly Vindskift meeting, and Ida had prepared a delicious vegan dish for dinner. She cooks the best indian food! After dinner we, continued our planning of season 2017. The sailing season starts in may, but we need to start our planning early, in order to reach our exciting and ambitious goals for 2017!

Great job! Do you mind telling us a little bit about your life and how you discovered sailing?

My dad is an active sailor, so you can say I have been in a sailboat since I was a baby. However, I started sailing actively when I was 8 with four of my best girlfriends. We started on a new beginners course in a boat called Optimist. I remember I was focusing more on  having fun, swimming and eating waffles with my friends than the sailing part. I ended up sailing actively until I was 15. I have also worked as a sailing instructor for more than 11 years ! What I love about sailing is the adventures you get to experience while being on the sea, and all the fun you have together. I feel very fortunate having been exposed to the sport since childhood. Sailing and being close to the water has always been the best way to forget about time, release stress and focus on the environment and people around me.

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Wonderful! Now tell us… Where did the Idea to start Vindskiftcome from?

The idea of VIndskift came from one our our co-founders, Ida. She had taken a group of recovering drug addicts from a project called Back in the Ring, out to sail. The smiles and gratefulness she saw on their faces were powerful, and Ida could not stop talking about the event. We all started talking about how we could spread this experience to more people, and who could benefit from experiences on the sea. At the same time, we noticed how many boats were lying on the harbor unused!

We decided to focus on kids from inner cities in Norway, who had not been exposed to many hobbies or sports. Vindskift means “wind shift”  in English, and the meaning is that we want to create a positive shift for kids, but also a positive shift for sailors who want to contribute to society.

We also wanted Vindskift to be an activity where you can participate for free. At the same time, we wanted to activate all the private boats that were not being used. We hope to encourage people to volunteer their time and boats to Vindskift!

We established our volunteer organisation and started to recruit boat owners, and organisations in contact with the inner city kids we wanted to focus on. The first year we worked with organisations like Red Cross, Frigo and Pøbelprosjektet. We managed to get sponsors and donations so we could work sustainable, continue to grow and create long relations with collaborators. We are proud to say that Vindskift is offered for free to our focus groups! Yey!

This is simply incredible. What are some of the best experiences you have had so far with Vindskift?

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When you work on a project like Vindskift, you get to meet so many interesting people from different backgrounds. It is fun to make new connections and create new collaborations ! Also, I can talk for hours about every event out on the Oslo fjord last year. Every trip and every kid is unique and special. Our pictures say it all!  

I also love working with my best girlfriends on something that I am truly passionate about. I'ts great to know that we are actively trying to contribute to our society with the resources and time available to us!

Any challenges while working on this project?

You learn from challenges! We are depending on people volunteering with their private boats, time and commitment. We are also dependent on good communication and collaborations with the organisations we work with, so we get as many kids as possible out sailing. We have learned a lot already, and to be better prepared for 2017. We all work full-time in addition to Vindskift, so we need to be realistic about time and our goals.

However, one of our goals is to remain the fun and enthusiasm!

Amazing! Any other goals for 2017?

2017 will be a very interesting year! We want to triple our amount of participants, and double our active Vindskift members. We also plan to implement Vindskift on a national scale and spread Vindskift working method to more sailing communities across Norway. This is something that really excites us, and we get support from The Norwegian Sailing Foundation (NSF) and Royal Norwegian Sailing Club (KNS) in continuing this work.

As a young female entrepreneur, what are your thoughts on equality in our society today? Do you think better tools for saving and investing could help the current situation?

Vindskift got established on the fact that we experienced inequality in our society. The area kids grow up in impact their education, exposure to different hobbies and personal freedom.

Better tools for saving money and increased awareness and knowledge about the topic would in my opinion help reduce the inequality we experience today. If everyone could easily save and plan for the future in a fun, engaging and safe way, I think this would create a healthy shift toward increased knowledge about the subject in all parts of our society.

Also, in the future I hope the norm will be to save money instead of always spending it.

We agree! As you know, we are creating a social app for saving and investing money. Do you think this could be the future?

Spiff makes it fun, easy and cool to save money. This is an important focus, and in contrast to our society today, which in large part is focused on over-consuming! Some of our Vindskift participants have expressed after being out sailing with us, that they want to start to saving up for their own sailboat. They loved the freedom they experienced out on the sea! It would be great to use Spiff for this, and contribute to accomplish their dreams!

Also we would use Spiff to encourage people to save money socially for Vindskift. This would be amazing and really useful when we want to spread Vindskift across the country.

On a personal note… what would you use Spiff for?

I spend a lot of money buying coffee and unnecessary food out in the city. I hope Spiff will encourage me to save money instead. Hopefully it will become a habit to make coffee and food at home or at work, when I see how much money I save on the Spiff app? I will also use it to save money with friends for our next holiday! I look forward to use Spiff.

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We thank Susanne and the rest of Vindskift for their incredible initiative. If you would like to know more or feel like supporting the work they do, please email at Vindskift@gmail.com, or register on the webpage www.vindskift.org. The girls are always looking for new boats, sailors and volunteers, as well as contributions to sailing events and the organisation.  Vindskift is also on the lookout for new groups and organisations who could benefit from sailing, and would love to hear from you. For donations of sailing-gear and clothes, please contact Vindskift via e-mail.  Hedda Anker Hvinden, Alexandra De Marichalar, Ida Patel Hellum, Susanne Wexels, Elisabeth Monrad-Hansen and Svenning Torp will be happy to hear from you!

Click here to visit Vindskift online and here to follow them on Facebook.